Industry Facts

Over 98% of Canada’s farms are still family owned and operated.


Canada is a leader in the international pork industry, ranking third in terms of export volume and seventh in terms of production.

The U.S. and Japan are Canada’s major pork export markets with 27% going to the US, and 19% to Japan. Russia, South Korea, and China rounded out the top 5 in 2011.

In a 2012 report by the George Morris Centre researchers found $3.2 billion worth of pork was exported from Canada in 2011.

Using the Statistics Canada, System of National Accounts, Canadian Input Output Model for the pork sector, the report found the following economic impact of pork exports:

  • 45,000 jobs at the processing, farming and other supplier levels.
  • $1.98 billion in wages, salaries and benefits.
  • $318 million in taxes both income and product related.
  • Gross Domestic Product contribution of $3.5 billion.



From January to December 2011, Canada imported 205.2 million kg of pork, up 11.9% from 2010.

Total Number of Pigs:

The total number of pigs on farm in Canada in 2011 was 11.99 million head including 1.29 million sows and bred gilts

  1. Quebec (32.9%); 3.94 million head including 365,800 sows and bred gilts (28.3%)
  2. Ontario (23.8%) 2.85 million head including 341,900 sows and bred gilts (26.5%)
  3. Manitoba (21.9%) 2.62 million head including 313,800 sows and bred gilts (24.3%)


Pork Consumption:

Meat consumption patterns have changed, there has been some drop in pork consumption in Canada but there are lots of factors associated with that including: busy lifestyles, with many people wanting quick easy prepackaged processed meals; societal pressures to eat less meat and Canada’s Food Guide has changed and protein servings are different.

Production Standards:

  • The Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA) is the on-farm food safety program for Canadian hog producers and is combined with the Animal Care Assessment program  for producers to monitor, manage and document animal husbandry practices.
  • The program was developed and is maintained by the Canadian Pork Council, the national association for Canada’s hog producers.
  • While the programs are voluntary, many federal processing plants require that producers have their CQA and ACA validation.
  • Please note that no hormones are used in any Canadian hog production.
  • Medication is used to treat illnesses and all medications have recommended mandatory withdrawal times that need to expire before the pig is sent to market.


  • Pigs are fed a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals – consists primarily of grains (corn, grain and soy beans).
  • The majority of farms use vegetable grain fed diets.
  • Pigs are naturally omnivores and their diet requires high levels of protein.



  • Almost all pigs are raised in barns for their protection from the elements and other animals.



  • Canada’s market hogs have all been identified to assist with tracking movement between birth and processing in the province so that consumers can be assured safe pork products from farm to fork.

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